Dog Brothers Public Forum

HOME | PUBLIC FORUM | MEMBERS FORUM | INSTRUCTORS FORUM | TRIBE FORUM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 28, 2017, 05:23:25 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
101849 Posts in 2376 Topics by 1089 Members
Latest Member: Sarge
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 ... 70 71 [72] 73 74 ... 139
3551  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Were going to love the new health care law - Sebellius tells us so. on: October 02, 2013, 09:59:14 AM
The Hidden Obamacare Taxes That
 Will Crush The Middle Class
By Money Morning Staff Reports
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Get ready to be blindsided by a barrage of new taxes. $1 trillion worth...

They'll be coming courtesy of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

And they won't just be affecting those who make over $250,000. The bulk of these taxes will be passed on directly to the middle class.

That's because while a majority of these "stealth taxes" were designed to be taxes on businesses, they're actually transferred directly to ordinary citizens.

MORE: How much extra will you have to pay? To see how Obamacare taxes will directly affect your paycheck, go here.

They include the investment income surtax, a Medicare payroll tax, even a "tanning tax" on those who utilize indoor tanning services.

"Many of those [hidden] taxes, especially those on hospitals, insurers and medical device manufacturers, will ultimately be passed on through higher health costs," said Michael Tanner an expert on the healthcare law.

In fact, analysts estimate Obamacare will cost the average taxpayer nearly $6,000 in extra taxes as early as next year.

Obamacare Tax Hikes Stoke Outrage

The new taxes go into effect January 1, 2014. But they are already infuriating millions of Americans.

While even Obamacare detractors applaud the requirement that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions and put a stop to lifetime caps on benefits, they say these laudable benefits don't compensate for the bills high cost - especially in new taxes.

According to most experts, Obamacare will create a total of twenty new taxes or tax hikes on the American people.

In fact, the Obama administration has already given the IRS an extra $500 million to enforce the rules and regulations of Obamacare.

The new taxes don't bode well for millions of middle-class Americans. Incomes for the rich have soared this decade but middle class workers have seen their wages stagnate and even drop since the 2008 Great Recession.

Many fear Obamacare with its high insurance costs and new taxes, could provide the middle class a fatal blow.

 The 20 new Obamacare taxes are making Americans eyes pop out in disbelief. Take a look.

Of course, the Obamacare plan was primarily designed to decrease the number of uninsured Americans and reduce healthcare costs.

Many experts are saying it will have the exact opposite effect.

That's just one of the reasons why Republicans hope to defund Obamacare before January.

They claim that the taxes and costs needed to pay for Obamacare will crush the middle class and most U.S. taxpayers, as well as trigger job losses in affected industries.

Tax experts say you should try to estimate how much you will have to pay when the law goes into full effect - and take precautions to limit the damage to your bottom line.

What the Experts Say: How to avoid getting your financial neck broken by Obamacare... Watch this video.

One expert, Dr. Betsy McCaughey, a constitutional scholar with a Ph.D. from Columbia University, recently wrote a best-seller showing Americans how they can not only survive Obamacare, but prosper through it.

McCaughey claims to be one of the only people in the country - including members of Congress - who has actually read the entire 2,572 page law.

Her book, titled Beating Obamacare: Your Handbook for Surviving The New Health Care Law, breaks the huge bill down into 168 pages of actionable advice.

The book, written in an easy going, easy to read style, shows some startling facts about Obamacare not seen in the mainstream press.

For example, she points to a little known passage in the bill that shows how you could get slapped with a $2,000 fine for not having health insurance - even if you do actually have it.

She also goes into detail explaining how a third of all U.S. employers could stop offering health insurance to their workers.

In one chapter, she shows how ordinary Americans will get stuck paying for substance abuse coverage - even if they never touched a drink or drug in their life.

According to McCaughey's research, senior citizens will get hit the hardest.

Hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery will be especially hard to get from Medicare in the months ahead thanks to Obamacare, according to McCaughey.

She warns seniors to get those types of procedures done now before Obamacare goes into effect January 1.

Editor's Note: Real facts and figures about the hidden Obamacare taxes and fees and how they will affect everyday Americans and seniors are hard to find. As a courtesy, Money Morning is giving readers a free copy of Betsy McCaughey's new book Beating Obamacare: Your Handbook for Surviving The New Health Care Law. But only a limited number of copies are available. Please go here to reserve yours today.
3552  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: October 02, 2013, 09:19:04 AM
Don't the Federal employees ALWAYS get their back pay?

And don't they essentially get the time off with pay in a shutdown?

So they should be happy.

I wish I could get some days off with pay.
3553  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 02, 2013, 09:15:32 AM
Yes I have been asked this before.

I tell patients with infections to wash their hands at home to prevent them from spreading to their families or getting something else.

Try washing your hands at home the next time you have a cold every time you touch your eyes your nose your mouth of blow your nose or cough with your hand over your mouth.

See how easy it is.  undecided
3554  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: October 02, 2013, 09:12:17 AM
TYVM  (thank you very much)  grin
3555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Diesel engine come back? on: October 02, 2013, 09:11:33 AM
Second energy post today also from the Economist:

http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21584436-automotive-technology-electric-and-hybrid-cars-are-being-given-run-their
3556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: October 02, 2013, 09:03:40 AM
Excellent and all very valid and to the point questions Crafty.

I really do think Hillary's appeal to women must be dealt with.   We don't have any Republican women on the national level other than Sarah Palin.

One question,

What is " IIRC ".

I liked the post that quotes Alan Dershowitz (clearly a genius even if a liberal) as Cruz being "off the charts".

But your right.  Just being smart does not mean he can win.  But it certainly makes him a new and inspiring leader greatly needed in the Republican party.
3557  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Biofuels - DOA? on: October 02, 2013, 08:55:22 AM
http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2013-09-25.html#read_more
3558  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Coulter on Cruz on: October 02, 2013, 08:34:22 AM
If cans can get their message straight I believe Cruz could be our ONE.  Are you listening and taking notes Rove?

http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2013-09-25.html#read_more
3559  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: October 02, 2013, 08:30:42 AM
It sure beats the "managing decline" as put by Hannity that we have seen with Bush and company and others like Christie.  

My description of it is an army that is in retreat having their rear guard fight a timid defensive action while running backwards.

Rep. King from NY is off my list.  

Christie never was on it.  The vast majority of the people who I speak to would leave NJ in seconds if they were able to.

He has done nothing to turn it around.   Yes he stood up to teachers unions.  That was helpful and a start.   So he used his big yap to bully Congress into handing over 50 plus billion to NJ NY to divvy up.  Does anyone know where the money is going?

Now they want more money for a fire is Seaside?   The "official" explanation for the fire is some wiring between or under a building was damaged by the hurricane.  Maybe.   But I don't take this official finding at face value.

There is a lot of money at stake.   Why should I believe officials in NJ?   I suppose if was arson there would be no money.  

But I digress.   No question.   Cruz is a hero to me.

3560  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yep on: October 01, 2013, 10:25:35 PM
And with special attention to this:

****The media were and are falling over each other singing the praises of our 'saviors', rarely expending a drop of ink on the fact that these allegedly so praiseworthy minions of the State were in essence the same people that were responsible for the mess in the first place.****

My response is this:

The mass media is made up of large conglomerates that are often public companies.   They are linked to Wall street and DC.

Look at the Press Club dinner.   It was always a bit obnoxious but even that adjective does not describe the disgusting corrupt odor emanating from the place settings anymore.

It is a celebrity event.  It is a big money DC version of MTV, or the CMA awards, or Miss America.

Also look at the revolving door of news people rotating through their favorite government jobs, as employees, advisors, and propagandists.

The so called journalists advance their own careers by sucking up to and getting close to their favorite pols and later add this to their resumes to increase their celebrity status and command higher paid salaries as pundits.

The "journalist-government" ties mirror the Wall Street Goldman Sachs Federal employee revolving door of influence, and insider control.

To date Republicans only speak of the government side of this two sided coin.  They err.  And that is why they are not trusted.    
3561  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: October 01, 2013, 07:23:56 AM
The US, thanks to Obama placed enormous pressure on Netanyahu not to act.
At least Bush didn't get into Olmert's way.

Also bombing a single facility in Syria was far easier than bombing multiple facilities in Iran that have been hardened over decades.

The US will not act for sure.  Obama has a Muslim background.  Not Jewish.  (except he has no problem taking their money and their political advice).

Once again, ironically, the world is against the Jews.

Rouhani is playing the international politics well.  There must have been many in Iran who thought Amedinajad was a big mouth who was giving their game away.
If he didn't publically threaten the existence of Israel, deny the Holocaust, etc. he wouldn't have drawn as much attention to Iran's nuclear program.

Israel will have to act alone.  Or face a nuclear Iran.  That's it.
3562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Heroes on: September 29, 2013, 10:19:58 PM
yahoo.com/video/turns-ordinary-people-heroes-141439883.html
3563  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The retail pharmacist on: September 29, 2013, 07:17:28 PM
Industrialization/corporatization of pharmacy - I assume it is the same all over the US.  When one walks into one of these chain pharmacies one sees an exasperated staff answering calls, taking orders from the drive thru, filling prescriptions, catering to lines of customers, calling doctors, insurers, kept on hold, etc.   I feel sorry for them.   (In contrast has anyone ever seen a government agency employee work so hard?)   I read this and I can relate:

****On Being a Doctor (in this case a pharmacist)| 3 September 2013 
 
A Day in the Life of a Corporate Retail Pharmacist
 
David D. Dore, PharmD, PhD

Ann Intern Med.  2013;159(5):366-367. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-159-5-201309030-00014

It was the Tuesday after Memorial Day and my fourth consecutive 13-hour day in the pharmacy. Having just passed the boards, I landed a job as a floating staff pharmacist. It was my first time working at this store and my third store in as many days. I did not know what to expect except that, as usual, I would be the only licensed pharmacist working here today. This fact struck me as a microcosm of my profession's ineffectualness—an ineffectualness resulting from misaligned objectives and poor processes of care, afflicting first pharmacists and, ultimately, patient care.

Today's store was small and old, the mirror against the wall a vestige of the soda fountain of years past. The fibrous carpet, with its familiar gray-square pattern, was the same as that at the two megastores where I worked over the weekend. Familiar, too, was the impending tumult of the day, which was as disruptive to the 20-year veteran pharmacist who managed this store as it was to me.
 
Arriving at the pharmacy, I entered the alarm code and raised the dusty gate. I prepared the cash register and logged into the ancient computer system, wondering when the pharmacy technician was due to arrive. Fifty new refill requests awaited. I preferred to arrive early for busy shifts, especially on a Tuesday after a holiday, but it was against corporate policy.
 
I answered the telephone. “Jim, this is Rocco. I need my orange pills and my inhaler,” the caller said.

“Sir, Jim has the day off. I'm filling in for him. Let me see whether I can help you. What is your last name?”

He hung up. I answered a second call. It was the practice nurse from one of the local primary care providers responding to a question left on voicemail the previous evening. Prescriptions with pending problems are conventionally left in plain sight, but I found no note or other evidence of the situation. Perhaps the permanent pharmacists would have known of this issue, though not through any evident record-keeping system. No two systems were alike.

“I'm sorry, but I'l have to call you back,” I said.

She hung up, wasting no time on pleasantries. My anxiety grew.

Standing alone in the pharmacy, I turned my attention to the now 60 prescriptions waiting. I spent the next 10 minutes processing the prescription orders, overriding the many warnings that popped up on the computer screen, thinking of the alarm fatigue that my colleagues at the hospital experience with medical equipment. The whirling of the laser printer drowned out the overhead music.

The first technician arrived 15 minutes late and began counting tablets on a small plastic tray by using a spatula that resembled a butter knife. Meanwhile, I was caught in a proxy battle with an insurance company. They no longer paid for olmesartan. A patient would have to use an alternative drug that her insurance company now preferred.

I called the physician's office to request a substitution, cursing the fact that I could not make the substitution without a physician's approval. After waiting on hold for several minutes, I left a message requesting a prescription for valsartan. I made a note to call the customer, who had not yet learned that her prescription was changing.

The technician was also on the telephone, and four customers arrived at the counter in rapid succession. The first woman tapped her keys on the counter, apparently to ensure that we noticed her. I smiled at her while my anxiety mounted.

After hanging up the telephone, I greeted the woman at the counter. She handed me a prescription for isotretinoin, for which the Food and Drug Administration required a special program for therapeutic risk management. I had to call a telephone-based registry system before filling the prescription.

“I have a new insurance card,” she said, handing me a card that had no information that could be used for billing a pharmacy claim.

“You should have received a separate card for your pharmacy coverage,” I told her. “Do you have it?”

“I didn't get it.”

“I'l call the insurance company,” I said.

“How long will it take?”
 
“About 30 minutes.”

“But your advertisement says that prescriptions will be filled in 15 minutes or less.”

She was right.

“I'm sorry, but that is not feasible at the moment. I'l finish it as soon as possible,” I said.

She walked away with an angry look. I didn't notice, but that day I had not yet used any knowledge of pharmacotherapy that was the focus of my training.

The next customer was an overweight, out-of-breath woman in her mid-70s named Mrs. da Silva, who arrived with her daughter. Mrs. da Silva was a regular customer who spoke only Portuguese. Translating, the technician told me that Mrs. da Silva was just discharged from the hospital for what I inferred was an acute myocardial infarction. I had no access to her actual diagnosis or medical records. Mrs. Da Silva handed me 12 prescriptions written by the hospital's housestaff.

In subsequent moments, I prioritized the filling of Mrs. da Silva's prescriptions; her pale appearance suggested that she would be better off resting at home than sitting on a bench next to the pharmacy. The chaos of the routine prescription-filling circled just beyond my attention.

As the technician translated, I began counseling Mrs. da Silva on the importance and logistics of taking the medicines. I realized quickly that she learned very little about the medications from her doctors at the hospital, which came as no surprise. During the inpatient rotations of my training, I learned how hectic hospital life could be for medical interns and residents.

Then, a second technician whose arrival I barely noticed interrupted to tell me that I had to take an urgent telephone call from a cursing customer. The caller was a man irate about the copayment for the prescription that his daughter had just picked up. When I returned to the counter, Mrs. da Silva was gone. I contemplated calling her when she arrived home but was interrupted by a beeping noise indicating that a car was at the drive-through pharmacy window.

“She just wanted to go home,” said the technician who had translated.

I do not know why I allowed my conversation with Mrs. da Silva to be interrupted except that a typical day at a corporate pharmacy involves being understaffed and overworked, resulting in the need to address one urgency after another. Technician help is scarce, not because there are too few technicians but because corporate overseers allocate staffing resources.

Moreover, prompt responses are expected in retail, even if I have no influence over the physician's choice of drug or the insurance company's coverage policies. The large corporate pharmacies limit staff in favor of profit and promise convenience instead of health care. I also know that continuity of care after discharge from the hospital is imperfect and that community pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers.

As a community pharmacist, I cannot be expected to be a patient's primary care provider; indeed, physicians must follow their sickest patients closely. However, it seems that improving the patient-centeredness rather than profit-centeredness of pharmacy care would prevent lost opportunities for patient–provider dialogue, such as that with Mrs. da Silva.

Reflecting on the reasons why I went to pharmacy school, I recall that in my precollege years I had simply wanted a future career where I could help people. Although I considered a range of options, the college of pharmacy's recruitment materials touted the effect that one could have after completing the required doctoral-level training. Perhaps in a different practice setting that effect could be realized.

I spent the remainder of the day filling the 400 prescriptions that were waiting for my attention, talking to customers and physicians’ offices on the telephone, and answering routine questions at the counter, all the time being rushed by the incessant flow of work. Yet, when I walked away from Mrs. da Silva, I knew that I had missed the most important opportunity that day to provide real pharmaceutical care.

Several months later, I was back at the same pharmacy working with the same technicians when Mrs. da Silva's daughter came in to tell us that her mother had died. With sad eyes, she told us that it was unexpected, because Mrs. da Silva had made a promising recovery from the first heart attack.

When I opened her pharmacy record to document that she was deceased, I noticed that Mrs. da Silva had never refilled her 12 prescriptions. My heart sank. To this day, I wonder whether Mrs. da Silva died of a diseased heart or a broken pharmacy system.****
3564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Europe and Israel on: September 29, 2013, 07:08:13 AM
After centuries of wars, conquests, empires, kingdoms, colonialism, carving out other countries like the entire middle east, Europe now has a  problem with a Jewish State.  Why?  One explanation:

http://www.prageruniversity.com/Political-Science/Why-Europe-Has-a-Problem-with-Israel.html?gclid=CKXW-4bH8LkCFTBnOgodPkAArA#.UkgV8xXD-Cg
3565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: September 27, 2013, 09:01:07 PM
What is the difference between this and Nazi hate?
3566  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rouhani's ruse on: September 27, 2013, 08:59:12 PM
Israel will have to act alone.  I didn't realize that Bolton came out 2 months ago and said Israel should have "attacked Iran yesterday".
I wonder if legislative Democrats will recommend Obama for the Congressional Medal of Honor for "historic" act of tweeting Rouhani.  cry

*****Adrift: The United States and the Middle East

August 30, 2013 By Andrew Harrod

Bolton and Michael Ledeen presented a disturbing picture of Obama Administration national security policy adrift amidst a continually crisis-laden Middle East on August 28, 2013.  In particular, these two leading foreign policy experts foresaw no truly effective international policy to stop Iranian nuclear weapons proliferation, leaving Israel to confront this existential danger unilaterally.

Bolton and Ledeen appeared at the briefing “Who is the Real Rouhani?” at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), described by its founder and president Sarah Stern as “unabashedly pro-American and pro-Israeli,” sponsored the event.  Stern introduced Bolton and Ledeen by discussing how Hassan Rouhani had appeared to American media as a “great moderate” following his June 14, 2003, election to the presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Yet Ledeen described the “big difference” between Rouhani and his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as being “exactly the same as the difference between Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola.”  In contrast to Ahmadinejad, Rouhani “is more charming,” his “face is prettier,” and “he knows the West” due to his Western education.  Such attributes, though, simply reminded Ledeen of how some Western observers had expectantly noted Yuri Andropov as a “jazz fan” after this KGB chief succeeded Leonid Brezhnev as the Soviet Union’s leader in 1982.  Rouhani’s exposure to the West, rather than moderating his views, seems to have instilled anti-Western vitriol in Rouhani, just as other Islamist leaders like the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) ideologue Sayyid Qutb “learned to hate America in America.”

Ledeen also rejected speculation of Rouhani being part of a “cunning scheme” to present an “apparent moderate.” Ledeen believed that Rouhani’s election was a “surprise” in an “honest vote” within the Iranian theocracy.  Here again the difference between Rouhani’s “moderation” and Ahmadinejad was minimal, for the latter could also “buy endless time” in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

In such dictatorships “you are dealing with a regime” that has “core policies,” Ledeen argued.  “It doesn’t matter who the person is.” Rouhani, moreover, has personally been “fully committed…fully engaged” during his career in Iran’s terrorism and nuclear programs, central concerns for the international community. Citing the former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, Ledeen considered a dictatorship’s domestic behavior indicative of foreign policy.  “The way they treat their own people is the way they want to treat us.”

Bolton as well saw no moderation in Rouhani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator during 2003-2005.  This background meant that “Rouhani could not be a better public face” for Iran now.  Reflecting upon his negotiating experience, Rouhani had subsequently often “boasted” of his success in shielding Iran’s nuclear program from interference.

Bolton attributed the origins of these negotiations to a European desire in 2003 for “showing up the United States”  after its Iraq invasion.  With the controversial Iraqi regime change as a backdrop, “we suave and sophisticated Europeans” sought to tame the Iranian nuclear program.  The European concept then was a “macro-solution” following an Iranian enrichment freeze and today “they are still pursuing the same elusive goal.”

Iranian stalling tactics in the following negotiations recognized, Bolton observed that weapons proliferators “need time and they need legitimacy.”  Iran, moreover, was “scared to death” after American invasions not only in Iraq but Afghanistan as well brought American troops to Iranian borders on opposing sides.  Thus Iran has had no hesitation in suspending enrichment in the past, especially when temporary technical difficulties made the issue moot.  Looking to the future, Bolton considered it “clear beyond dispute that the Europeans are getting ready to be suckered again.”

Bolton predicted that the Iranians would make diplomatic overtures to the American diplomats as well.  Iranian officials would claim that their nuclear program was peaceful and transparent, while sanctions hurt the Iranian people.  In response, American officials might well offer phased plans of reciprocal Iranian-international actions.  “When you hear sequencing” from diplomats, Bolton warned, “you know they are talking about surrender.”  With sanctions “once dialed back,” it will be “almost impossible to torque them back up again.”  “What we don’t know cannot be good news,” Bolton meanwhile speculated about the progress of the Iranian nuclear program in light of past intelligence failures in Iraq.

In contrast to the Iranian regime, Ledeen believed that the Iranian people sought to emulate the Egyptian overthrow of the MB.  Ledeen attributed to Iranian opposition leaders under house arrest a “huge following” such that the regime dared not execute them.  Additionally, the “Iranian opposition is fundamentally pro-Western and anti-Islamist.” Speaking of senior Iranian ayatollahs in opposition to the Iranian regime as well as Muslim opposition to the MB in Egypt, Ledeen also warned “don’t write off all Muslims” as allies against Islamism.  Ledeen lamented, however, that the United States had done nothing to foment this internal Iranian opposition, something not requiring American military force.  Yet “Iran is the key to international terror,” while Iraq in 2003 was only a secondary terrorism supporter.

“We would have to have an Iran policy,” Ledeen argued, for regime change in Syria, a country under “virtual Iranian control” in the guise of the Lebanese Hezbollah (“that’s Teheran”) and Iran’s Al-Quds Force.  The “road to Damascus starts in Teheran,” Ledeen said.  The “problem in Syria is Iran,” Bolton agreed; focusing on Syria was “defining the problem much too narrowly.”

In particular, if the Assad regime perpetrated the latest chemical attack in Syria, then Ledeen saw “no way that that happened at a minimum without Iranian approval.”  The Iranians might have even provided “know-how.”  Syria regime change would be a terrible Iranian loss, thus in their view “Assad must be preserved.”

Contemplating a pending strike in Syria under the Obama Administration, Bolton foresaw this involving “some number of cruise missiles used against some number of empty buildings.”  The response of the Assad regime and its Iranian supporters will be “that’s it” with no effect upon chemical weapon use.

For deterrence, by contrast, a response must be “absolutely punishing.”  Opposed to a Syrian intervention, Bolton nonetheless criticized British Prime Minister David Cameron’s suggestion of a “proportionate response” to the Syrian gas attack.  “Why respond proportionately?” Bolton asked.  “You have to act decisively,” Ledeen concurred, proportionate response is “for little countries.  Otherwise, why be a superpower.”

The “worst outcome is that we do something and it has no effect,” Ledeen worried, merely making a “moral demonstration.”  Bolton as well warned that an ineffective “tank-plinking kind of raid”  will have an “immeasurable effect” on American credibility.  President Barack Obama’s personal “credibility has already been shredded” by earlier chemical attacks in Syria following his ill-conceived “ad lib” of a chemical attacks “redline.” Ledeen assessed the Obama Administration as now “leading with the behind.”

With respect to the critical question of Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, Bolton thought that the “prospects are grim.”  The Iranians “are going to get nuclear weapons,” Bolton predicted, setting off Middle East regional proliferation as a result.  This is the most possible outcome “by a long shot.” Current sanctions against Iran merely “give the illusion of doing something” and thereby cover the reluctance of congressional leaders and the Obama Administration to intervene in Iran.  “The Iranians are convinced that they are dealing with an American administration that does not have the will to fight,” Ledeen likewise assessed.

In the end, the crisis of Iranian nuclear proliferation, “for well or ill…is going to be Israel’s to solve,” according to Bolton.  Bolton criticized the past Israeli “mistake” of having allowed the first operational nuclear reactor in a “hostile state” in Bushehr, Iran.  Now, though, he considered an Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities the last viable nonproliferation option in the face of American inaction.

The “Israelis won’t talk to us about” an Iranian strike, Ledeen predicted.  “We’ll know about it when the attack begins,” Bolton seconded.  As with past Middle East nuclear dangers in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, the pair foresaw Israel decisively acting alone for its own freedom and survival. Yet the interests of a wider but more timid free world, however ungrateful, would also hang in the balance.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

 
Filed Under: Daily Mailer,

Copyright © 2013 · FRONTPAGEMAG.COM****
         
3567  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education/Parenting on: September 26, 2013, 11:47:44 AM
"Captures perfectly what has gone wrong in America."

Ditto.
3568  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history but on: September 26, 2013, 11:44:37 AM
that doesn't matter. 

The coronation is well underway.   Big money and celebrities and the mainstream media machine which makes tons off the Clinton's soap operas are hitching their money and investments to this wagon.

The "woman's" angle will be huge.  I doubt the cans will have enough savvy to counter.  And "can" women can compete for the older female vote but the younger women want the taxpayer and employer paid financial support, the pregnancy leave, etc.

 http://news.yahoo.com/bill-clinton-chelsea-president-134033297.html

The cast of Clinton characters will be back en force.   Being a one percenter is only a problem if you are a Republican.  Otherwise it is ignored.   
3569  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: September 26, 2013, 11:34:31 AM
Comments?

***Peter King: ‘Vile’ phone calls by Ted Cruz allies

By TAL KOPAN | 9/26/13 9:26 AM EDT

Rep. Peter King, who has pulled no punches in criticizing Ted Cruz, said Thursday that supporters of the Texas senator have been bombarding his office with “vile” phone calls.

The New York Republican has called Cruz a fraud for his calls to defund Obamacare, and said the senator’s campaign this summer to get the House to pass a government funding bill that defunds the health care law led to some offensive phone calls to King’s office.
    
“The vehemence of the phone calls coming into the office. I don’t care, people can call me whatever they want … I haven’t heard such vile, profane, obscene language,” King said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday.

King said while the majority of Cruz fans are “good people,” he’s concerned about what sentiments Cruz has preyed on. While he doesn’t know if Republicans can reach Cruz, they should try to “heal tensions” with his supporters, he said.

(Also on POLITICO: John Boozman thrashes Ted Cruz for Obamacare tactics)

“I’m not saying Ted Cruz is responsible for all his supporters, but he has tapped into a dark strain here in the American political psyche here, and again, the most obscene, profane stuff you can imagine all from people who say they support the Constitution,” King said. “I think what we have to do is reach out to his people and let them know that they’re following a false leader here.”


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/peter-king-ted-cruz-phone-calls-97396.html#ixzz2g17l8or7****
3570  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: September 24, 2013, 07:43:54 PM

Levin to the Rescue

Brent Bozell's column is released twice a week.

Brent Bozell III
L. Brent Bozell August 14, 2013 3:00 AM 

 Only those happily trampling on the last vestiges of freedom will deny that our federal government as a constitutional republic has ceased to function. The president can no longer control (nor does this one want to control) the enormous and ever-expanding bureaucracy functioning as a government by fiat. The legislative branch, so corrupted, so drunk by the allure of power, so disdainful of its constituents, is unable to stop its bankrupting ways. The judiciary is perhaps the worst. The Supreme Court is openly rejecting the authority of the Constitution itself.

If the federal government refuses to adhere to the enumerated powers of the Constitution, what can the citizenry do about it? The events of the past five years (more, actually) prove this. It has become virtually impossible to stop the agenda of a radical Chief Executive who brazenly uses the federal government as his personal political machine. It is almost impossible to defeat an incumbent member of Congress with all the advantages it has awarded itself. For all intents it is impossible to replace a member of the Supreme Court.

The left is content with this terrible turn of events. By "transformation" they meant the transfer of power to the state.

Conservatives are loath to declare American exceptionalism dead, yet are powerless to stop the statist steamroller. With every cycle, the situation worsens. At some point the unthinkable — tyranny — is upon us. We are running out of time. Only radical surgery will save the patient now.

Enter Dr. Mark Levin with his new book, "The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic". Levin is a Constitutional scholar — and he shines. He argues passionately that the federal government can be brought under control only if new limitations are thrust upon it by its citizenry. He proposes a Constitutional convention, not one called by Congress but one impaneled by two-thirds of state legislatures, and which would require a three-fourths margin to pass any new amendments. It is the lesser known of the two options provided by Article V of the Constitution.

What should a Constitutional convention tackle? Levin offers eleven amendments for consideration, with appropriate subdivisions, each carefully researched and each designed to reduce the power of the state.

Term limits for Congress is the first liberty amendment Levin offers. It is my view also the most important. Only when there are limits (12 years of service) will Congress be populated by men and women driven only by the call to service, not the siren song of power. The millions delivered by special interests for the re-election of incumbents who, in turn, reward said interests with billions in grants, contracts, tax shelters and the like — will cease.

Levin calls for other limitations on Congress. He proposes an amendment to limit federal spending and another to limit taxation, the combination, which will restore fiscal sanity while devolving power from the state. He offers an amendment to repeal the 17th Amendment, returning to the Article 1 mandate that Senators be chosen by their state legislators.

What about the Supreme Court? "(S)hould five individuals be making political and public policy decisions and imposing them on every corner of the nation ... as they pursue even newer and more novel paths around the Constitution in exercising judicial review?" Levin points to the obvious: Sometimes mistakes are made (Roberts, anyone?) and America shouldn't be punished for the rest of that jurist's life. He proposes 12-year term limits for them, as well.

What can be done to control, even reduce the size and scope of the bureaucracy? All federal departments and agencies must be re-authorized by Congress every three years or be terminated — that's what.

There's a liberty amendment to protect and promote free enterprise, now under vicious assault. One to protect private property given the ability of the federal government suddenly to steal it. Amendments to increase the power of the States, and finally, an amendment to protect the voting process.

Who would have thought any such amendments would ever be needed? And that's the point. Such is the nature of the crisis.

Levin quotes Tocqueville reflecting on the Constitutional Convention of 1776: "(I)t is new in history of society to see a great people turn a calm and scrutinizing eye upon itself when apprised by the legislature that the wheels of its government are stopped."

It is time for our legislatures once more to issue the clarion call

Levin hopes "The Liberty Amendments" will launch a national discussion, and it will. Levin is a consequential man, and this is a consequential book. Some critics will dismiss the concept out of hand. It is they who should be dismissed — unless they have bold new alternatives to propose. Nothing else is working, and nothing else will do. We have reached the tipping point.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
3571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / phoney "hits" more common than we realize and not likely accidental on: September 24, 2013, 08:02:55 AM
This confirms what I suspect about tallies of hits on yahoo, google, twitter etc.   When I see "trending now" on yahoo and see a lot of celebrities who are being pushed on us in the news such I wonder if many, perhaps most of the supposed generated "hit" are not computer generated by interests financially tied to those celebrities.   I guess there could be less nefarious reasons behind the phoney generated "hits" such as programs that search certain terms etc. but I think it less likely an accident:

http://dailycaller.com/2013/09/24/michelle-obama-has-nearly-2-million-fake-twitter-followers/
3572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: September 23, 2013, 09:45:40 PM
Didn't Booker also just happen to show in time to pull someone out of burning house?   That was probably some sort of set up too come to think of it.

3573  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Metal storm on: September 22, 2013, 10:54:59 PM
Click on link below then click on box that is subtitled "firepower metal" and then hit on video start:

http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0oG7j0Ruz9SzHYAiFFXNyoA;_ylc=X1MDMjc2NjY3OQRfcgMyBGJjawM4ZmJoMG1sOTN2ZGZuJTI2YiUzRDMlMjZzJTNEZ2kEY3NyY3B2aWQDX25HbU9FZ2V1ckNIcmlDMVVqLjE5d2EwUk1BeEQxSV91eEVBQjVoZARmcgN5ZnAtdC05MDAEZnIyA3NiLXRvcARncHJpZAM3STNDVWVvaFNDU3lvTU55ak50S0FBBG5fcnNsdAMxMARuX3N1Z2cDMTAEb3JpZ2luA3NlYXJjaC55YWhvby5jb20EcG9zAzAEcHFzdHIDBHBxc3RybAMEcXN0cmwDMTEEcXVlcnkDbWV0YWwgc3Rvcm0EdF9zdG1wAzEzNzk5MDgzNzYwNjUEdnRlc3RpZANWSVAyODY-?p=metal+storm&fr2=sb-top&fr=yfp-t-900
3574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: September 22, 2013, 01:58:16 PM
an anecdotal story.  I was speaking to a Russian Jewish physician colleague about medical care in Russia.  How the poor people there would be grateful for any attention at all.  How rewarding that can be to really feel appreciated as a doctor not just a commodity provider.   Then in walks another colleague and friend who is Indian.  He said the same is true in India particularly in rural India and amongst its' poor.   He then want on and noted how Blacks in the US are constantly complaining.  It took us one generation to achieve so much success here and Blacks have been here for what 200 yrs and they still do nothing but make excuses.  He then called them "privileged".   You want to see poverty go to the back streets of India.   

I do admire my Indian colleagues.  Maybe American minorities should study and learn from them.  And stop bitching.  This can still be the greatest country in the world.
3575  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Indian Miss America on: September 22, 2013, 01:52:46 PM
More whining from minorities.  The MSM makes a few racist twitter posts after an woman of Indian decent won Miss America as some sort of national scandal.  A few twitter posts do not represent America.  I wish the MSM would stop dividing us by race.   

How is it that at least three of the judges on Miss America are gay?  Of course, we know they don't judge contestants based on political correctness do they?

****BY ANTHONY CAVE
 
acave@MiamiHerald.com
 

The new Miss America, Nina Davuluri, wants to be a doctor. The 24-year-old Miss New York is the first Indian-American woman to win the competition, too. The latter startled some after her victory last Sunday night.

Fox News & Commentary host Todd Starnes tweeted that Miss Kansas, runner-up Theresa Vail, lost because “she actually represented American values.” You know, because being “American” has a standard dictionary definition, which Starnes describes as a gun-toting, deer-hunting military veteran.

Several other Twitter users latched onto this skewed ideology, calling Davuluri an “Arab” and “Miss 7-11.” They also said Vail deserved to win because she “looked American.” White was the synonym they were probably looking for to describe “American.” While these folks are in the minority — I hope — it casts an unnecessary shadow over a historic win for Davuluri.

The Syracuse native touts herself as “Miss Diversity,” and thanks to the judges, she is. Her parents emigrated to the United States more than 30 years ago. Yet, she still had to defend herself a day later, telling reporters that she has to “rise above” the criticism. And that is the problem.

I have family members who are Indian — aunts and uncles, who, before last Sunday, would probably chuckle at the notion of an Indian Miss America. It is not out of ignorance, but rather how women are portrayed in American society.

Thin, beautiful and white. The social stratosphere is damning. Just ask the sororities at the University of Alabama. This week, the university moved to end segregation and admit black students to the historically white sororities on campus. There are numbers, too. A recent Reuters poll shows that 40 percent of white Americans have no minority friends.

How does that fit in? Well, it blankets the demographic. By 2050, minorities will be the majority, but you would not know it. This conservative-leaning notion of what it means to be American startles me. Conservatives’ “outreach efforts,” or lack thereof, to minorities comes across as market research.

But, it is more than the definition of an American. More than politics, civil rights or the racist remarks of a few.

Women and minorities are born into a world filled with misrepresentation. The perception of these long-ignored and overlooked groups has changed some, but not enough. A host of issues like inaccurate criticism or suppressed voting rights still exist.

And few are willing to empower those who need it, which is why Davuluri’s win is so important for women and minorities. Standing out should not involve wearing flesh-toned underwear on a major network like Miley Cyrus, but rather, a Davuluri using her $50,000 in prize money for medical studies.

The Miss America pageant is still based on an outdated platform that ultimately judges looks above intellect. Well, certain looks anyway.

Since 1983, there have been an Asian, an Indian and eight African-American Miss America winners. The token minority in a television commercial or business office is still the norm.

Airport screenings are not random, either. If I do not shave my beard, the TSA will pat me down.

It is only when minorities become those familiar “American” faces on a national stage, beyond the president, that the negative reactions will decline in the public eye. Stereotypes like “terrorist,” “drug dealer” or the “bad guy” would have to be gone.

Until then, the controversy will overshadow the progress of Davuluri and others.

Anthony Cave is a junior journalism student at Florida International University.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/20/3639820/miss-america-controversy-overshadows.html#storylink=cpy****
3576  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Here is the "overrated" job thing on: September 22, 2013, 01:38:48 PM
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-most-overrated-jobs-of-2013-192901302.html
3577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran wants to "negotiate" on: September 22, 2013, 01:27:03 PM
Here we go again.  More delay.  I don't know what we need to negotiate.  Isn't our position iron clad by NOW?  I do agree with Lindsay  Graham for the first time in years for his proposal we give Obama leeway on attacking Iran.   But I am Jewish.  I don't think most Americans would.  Back to this nonsense:

*****Sep 22, 12:22 PM EDT

Iran's president reaches West before heading to UN

By NASSER KARIMI and BRIAN MURPHY
Associated Press
 
Iran's president reaches West before heading to UN
 US denies visiting allegedly missing Iranians

Iran's top leader opens way for Rouhani outreach

Iran: Jewish lawmaker heads to UN with president

Iran releases human rights lawyer, other prisoners
   
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- On the eve of a landmark trip to attend the U.N. General Assembly, Iran's president offered Sunday his most expansive vision that a deal to settle the impasse over Tehran's nuclear program could open doors for greater cooperation on regional flash points such as the Syrian civil war.

The linkage of Middle East affairs and broad-stroke rhetoric by Hasan Rouhani served as something of a final sales pitch to President Barack Obama ahead of the U.N. gathering, where Rouhani hopes to garner pledges from Western envoys to restart stalled nuclear negotiations as a way to ease painful economic sanctions.

Rouhani also must try to sell his policies of outreach to skeptical Iranian hard-liners, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard. Failure to return from New York with some progress - either pledges to revive nuclear talks or hints that the U.S. and its allies may consider relaxing sanctions - could increase pressures on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to withdraw his apparent backing for Rouhani's overtures with Washington.

It adds up to a high-stakes week ahead for Rouhani in his first gathering with Western leaders since his inauguration last month.

While his effort to open new diplomatic space is genuine, it's still unclear where it could find footholds. Obama has exchanged letters with Rouhani and says he would welcome groundbreaking direct talks after a nearly 35-year diplomatic estrangement. But Washington previously has rejected offering a significant rollback in sanctions - Rouhani's main goal - as a way to push ahead nuclear talks.

Rouhani and Obama are scheduled to speak within hours of each other Tuesday at the General Assembly's annual meeting, setting up the possibility of the first face-to-face exchange between American and Iranian leaders since shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

"The Iranian nation is ready to talk and negotiate with the West, provided that there are no preconditions, the talks are on equal terms and there is mutual respect. (The West) should not consider only its own interests. Mutual interests should be considered," Rouhani said at a military parade for the 33rd anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, which set off a ruinous eight-year war. The speech was carried live by state TV.

He added that if Western countries acknowledge Iran's "rights" - a reference that includes the contentious issue of uranium enrichment - it would be a path toward mutual "cooperation, logic, peace and friendship."

"Then we will be able to resolve regional, even global, problems," Rouhani said.

Iran and the United States are at odds over the civil war in Syria. Tehran backs President Bashar Assad, while Washington supports rebels trying to oust him. Iran also is the patron for anti-Israel forces led by Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Still, Iran has faced a potential quandary over Western claims that Assad's forces used chemical weapons in an attack last month. Iran has strongly opposed chemical arms since suffering attacks with mustard gas and other agents by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's military in the 1980s.

Rouhani has worked hard to recast Iran's international image after eight years under his combative predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But the new Iranian leader has not strayed from Tehran's unshakable position: Its right to conduct nuclear activities that the West fears could be a step toward weapons development, especially uranium enrichment. Iran says its program is peaceful, intended for purposes including research and cancer treatment, and enrichment is necessary for the fueling of reactors.

"Iran has joined all treaties, including the non-proliferation treaty, or NPT, and it is loyal to it," Rouhani said.

Khamenei, who issued a religious decree nearly a decade ago declaring nuclear weapons contrary to Islamic values, seems to have given critical support to Rouhani - a backing withheld from Ahmadinejad after fierce internal political feuds. This potentially gives Rouhani's government more room to offer proposals to the six-nation negotiating group, the permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany.

In a significant step, Khamenei last week suggested it was a moment for Iran to exercise "heroic flexibility" in diplomacy, while not giving important ground to its foes.

But some hard-line groups have warned Rouhani not to misinterpret Khamenei's comment as a mandate to restore ties with the West at any cost.

"Based on historical experience, it's wise and necessary to have skeptical monitoring of the behavior of the White House," said the statement Saturday from the Revolutionary Guard, whose missile arsenal was on display in the military parade, including the surface-to-surface Sajjil capable of reaching Israel and U.S. bases in the region.

Also Saturday, the Guard's acting commander, Gen. Hossein Salami, said there was no "flexibility" in protecting Iran's ability to have "peaceful nuclear energy," according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.

Rouhani also insisted the U.S. foreswear a military strike against Iran's nuclear program as a way to move ahead nuclear talks. It's unlikely, though, that Washington would make such a declaration, which would risk strong backlash from its key ally, Israel.

"No nation will accept war and diplomacy on (the same) table," the Iranian leader said.

Rouhani did not mention Israel by name at the military event, but the reference was clear.

"A regime is a threat for the region that has trampled all international treaties regarding weapons of mass destruction," he said, noting Israel's undeclared but widely presumed nuclear arsenal.

Shorter-range missiles in the parade included the Fajr-5, which Palestinian groups have used against Israeli targets in attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

---

Murphy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use."*****
 
3578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / few thoughts on: September 22, 2013, 12:43:52 PM
CD,  

Perhaps Gilder's entropy theory of new knowledge entropy leading to growth also leads to higher costs.   Medicine is certainly one area where knowledge is expanding rapidly and leading to innovation new knowledge and more advanced treatments.  It has certainly helped mankind.  Most of the entropy is here in the US.  Maybe one consequence is higher cost.  But why are costs higher than say compared to electronic devices?  Let me just say this.  Yes the cost of communicating devices may be down but our costs for such things are MUCH higher than 30 yrs ago.  Automobiles are far higher than adjusted for inflation with all the engineering that goes into them.   One could get a very nice luxury car for 3K in the 60s.  Now the same deemed "level" of luxury is 40 to 50 K.  That is far higher than inflation.  That is far higher than wages.

Back in the day we just had a TV set that cost a few hundred dollars and no cable/satellite or monthly fees.   We had land lines (though long distance calls were relatively more expensive) without all these subscriptions for internet.      

Doug writes:

"Their prices are lower because the largest healthcare market in the world has already paid the bulk of the sunken costs that developed those products and services."

Nearly all the innovation comes from the West.  

Off the top of my head I cannot think of one innovative medicine, device, etc. that was not from America, or Europe.

He is making the case for oligopolies or single payer actually.

There are payers who reimburse less then Medicare so he is wrong about this.  Plus Medicare patients can buy supplements if they want.

It seems to me the trend is towards oligopolies anyway.   We are seeing huge trends towards hospital consolidation, physicians organizing or aligning with hospitals, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities taking control of the provider market and control costs, providers, increase their bargaining clout.  Nurse organizations are gaining more control because (for now) nurses get paid less.

He is also DEAD wrong about doctors ordering tests to "cover their butts" is negated by capping pain and suffering awards aka Texas and some other states.  This would have little impact on test ordering.  Plainly put, I as well as any other doctor does not want to be sued any less because I may know the damages are capped.  

As for how much this accounts for excessive health care I might agree it may not be that much.   It is very difficult to determine what is excessive and what is not.  Anyone who tells you this is not telling all the details.

Doug writes,

"but that doesn't lead to any easy or obvious solution"

The reason is because there isn't one.    It is all an experiment in progress.   Yet he seems to be advocating single payer system.

Doug writes,

"We limit the supply of doctors, nurses"

Well in rural fly over areas there is not an overabundance of doctors who like everyone else don't prefer to live in the middle of "no where".  But in the North East I can certainly say there is no shortage of most types of physicians though in some specialties that may be the case.  The market is flooded with foreign born, foreign trained doctors.  Even some of them tell me now they wish the newbies would "stop coming".

As for nurses, with the resurgence of nursing (RNs some years ago were not in demand unless they got their MBA and go into hospital administration etc), NPs, PAs, etc the schools cannot churn them out fast enough.  Their ranks were not limited just that it didn't pay to be a nurse.  That has swung back the other way.

Just today it is posted the median salary for a surgeon is around 177 K on yahoo and surgery is not all that it is cracked up to be.  Many general surgeons are struggling in my area at least.  An ortho surgeon ran off from NJ to Montana.   A cardiologist left NJ for New Mexico.   The 177 seems low to me.  OTOH I was recently told of one ortho surgeon who is boarded in spine surgery (apparently rare) and charges 80K for a procedure.  The insurance in one case negotiated him "down" to something like 25K.  IT was done out of network.   The out of network thing seems to be one loophole  that works as a way to game the system by some hospitals and doctors.
So while we have some doctors on the one end making huge sums most are not.
3579  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jonah about sums it all up. on: September 22, 2013, 11:56:36 AM
"The only real accountability for the Benghazi scandal will have to come in 2016"

There has never been accountability when we are speaking of the Clintons or for that matter nearly all national Democrat party figures:

*****September 20, 2013 12:00 AM
Truth and Consequences for Benghazi 
 Answers won’t come until 2016. 

By Jonah Goldberg

The only real accountability for the Benghazi scandal will have to come in 2016.

Reading through the competing partisan reports and listening to the congressional testimony of various officials this week, it seems fair to say that no actual crimes were committed (though you never know what you don’t know).

There were, in at least a figurative sense, criminal lapses in judgment by senior officials. Many of those lapses are recounted in the Accountability Review Board report. It found “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department” that “resulted in a special mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.”

Translation: U.S. officials were caught by surprise by a terrorist attack on 9/11 in a country where our ambassador had repeatedly warned his superiors — including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — that security was grossly inadequate. That ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was vindicated in a pyrrhic sense when he was murdered by well-organized terrorists.

Clinton picked four of the five members of the “independent” board, and they were kind enough to show her a draft before they released it to Congress. The ARB assigned all meaningful blame to some mid-level officials. ARB members declined to interview Clinton because, according to testimony by Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Michael Mullen (the chairman and vice chairman of the ARB) on Thursday, they determined at the outset that it wouldn’t be necessary. None of the people who were interviewed for the report were under oath.

For those who followed the still-unfolding scandal at the IRS, this might be significant. Initially, IRS official Lois Lerner tried to pin all of the blame on some low-level employees in Cincinnati. When employees were questioned by congressional investigators — away from their bosses and under oath — evidence was found to help prove Lerner’s account a well-orchestrated lie.

Congressional Republicans would like to get relevant witnesses to testify under oath, but they claim that the State Department and CIA are blocking that. CNN has reported that many potential CIA witnesses have been subjected to “frequent, even monthly” lie-detector tests to discourage them from leaking information. One insider told CNN: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.” Said another: “You don’t jeopardize yourself, you jeopardize your family as well” if you talk to anyone about what happened.

That’s all very ominous, and I’m at a loss as to why it’s outrageous for Congress to try to get to the bottom of what happened. But to listen to defenders of the administration and a lot of allegedly neutral journalists, this basic exercise in congressional oversight is a deranged and entirely fabricated partisan witch hunt. It’s an odd charge given that the only obvious fabrication in the whole affair was the relentless effort to cast the attack that killed four Americans as a spontaneous reaction to an obscure and shoddy YouTube video.

But we probably know what happened. In the midst of a hard-fought presidential election, the administration, and specifically the president, was caught embarrassingly flat-footed by a terrorist attack. And even when it knew the attack was still going on — without any possible knowledge of when it was going to end — it still failed to send any help. The ARB establishes that much.

In their testimony Thursday, Pickering and Mullen softened that criticism by noting that the U.S. military can’t be expected to defend every diplomatic outpost everywhere in the world all of the time. Fair enough. But maybe it’s not unreasonable for the military to be ready for an attack in, say, the Middle East on Septempber 11? Particularly in a country where officials knew security was a huge problem?

At the time, the Obama campaign had been touting its success in the War on Terror. The last thing it wanted less than 60 days before the election was to lose that issue. So, afraid of the political fallout, the White House and the State Department circled the wagons.

Hillary Clinton is a master of the passive-aggressive art of dragging out investigations until the press and public lose interest and spinners can use abracadabra phrases like “it’s all old news,” “let’s just move on,” and, most famously, “what difference does it make?”

The irony in this case is that it’s precisely that tactic that has now turned a political problem for Obama into a political problem for Clinton. And unfortunately, the only real accountability we can hope for on Benghazi will come when she runs for president herself.

— Jonah Goldberg is the author of The Tyranny of Clichés, now on sale in paperback. You can write to him by e-mail at goldbergcolumn@gmail.com, or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.*****
3580  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / computer models are simply wrong! on: September 22, 2013, 10:41:38 AM
Second post today.  OTOH:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/10310712/Top-climate-scientists-admit-global-warming-forecasts-were-wrong.html
3581  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: September 22, 2013, 10:09:28 AM
NEWER » What's Really Going On With Arctic Sea Ice?

I Told You So: Congressman Parrots Climate Change Denial Errors

By Phil Plait
   
Man, sometimes I hate it when I’m right.

This whole week I’ve been writing about how an article in the tabloid newspaper The Mail on Sunday is riddled with climate change denial nonsense, with error piled upon error. They even updated the atrocious article, making it in some ways worse—the basic mistake about temperatures increasing upon which the article was based was changed, but not corrected.

I also posted about how misinformation like this spreads through the deny-o-sphere, going from one mouthpiece to the next, changing and morphing into even more ridiculous claims. I pointed out that this kind of bilge eventually makes its way to people who have actual power.

And here we are. On Wednesday, the congressional Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing on the climate change policies President Obama has announced. On the subcommittee sits a congressman by the name of David McKinley (R-W. Va.). By many measures, he is a rank-and-file Republican, sitting squarely in the middle of his party’s ideological stance. During that meeting, where important issues in climate change policies were discussed, he said this:

Here’s what he said:

But here’s the reality of temperature changes over the last 40 years… Actually we can say over 40 years there’s been almost no increase in temperature – very slight – in fact […] even with increased greenhouse CO2 level emissions, the Arctic ice has actually increased by 60 percent. Also that the Antarctica is also expanding… most experts believe by 2083, in 70 years, the benefits of climate change will still outweigh the harm.

Let me be clear: What he said here is complete nonsense.

To start with, his claim that temperatures haven’t gone up in 40 years is just dead wrong. I think he was trying to talk about the flattening of temperatures over the past few years that deniers are making so much hay out of. At best, this leveling out of surface temperatures goes back 15 years or so, but certainly not 40. I might forgive the Congressman and say it was a slip of the tongue, but he says it more than once.

Temperatures are rsising, despite the claims of Rep. McKinley.

The reality is that since 1973 land surface temperatures have gone up a full 0.6° C in a trend so clear it’s hard to believe anyone could honestly miss it. And as I have pointed out, the recent flattening is only due to a downswing in ocean temperatures due to a natural and well-known cycle in the Pacific. Once that goes back to an upswing, land temperatures will increase once again as well.

Also, McKinley propagates the Mail’s grossly misleading claim about Arctic sea ice increasing. Last year at this time we had a record low extent of sea ice over the North Pole. This year, the ice is way, way below average, by about a million square kilometers. Sure, it’s more than last year, but that’s only because last year’s minimum was extremely low. It’s incredibly misleading to say this year’s ice recovered from that. It’s far more fair to note that this minimum is one of the lowest ever seen (the sixth lowest since satellite measurements began, and possibly for millennia).

His claim that Antarctica is “expanding” is also baloney. It’s an old denier trope, and doesn’t differentiate between sea ice and land ice. The sea ice around Antarctica grows every winter, and melts away every summer. Right now it’s winter in Antarctica, and sure enough the sea ice is at a maximum. In fact, it is at a record max: about 4% higher above the previous maximum. But this will all melt away again in the austral summer; it doesn’t really have any long-term implications for global warming (although a case can be made that warming means more moisture in the air, which can then snow out when it’s cold, ironically temporarily increasing ice extent). And note that this is happening when Arctic sea ice extent is still 30% below average.

And what of Antarctic land ice? Surprise: That’s decreasing over time, to the tune of about a hundred billion tons per year.

ice loss in Antarctica
Monthly ice mass change in the Antarctic, measured in billions of tons (normalized to 0 in 2007). The average annual drop is roughly 100 billion tons per year.
Image credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech; NASA GSFC; CU-Boulder; Technical University of Munich; Technical University of Denmark; Delft University of Technology, Aerospace Engineering, Netherlands; Durham University, UK; Leeds University, UK
   
Finally, about McKinley’s claims that most experts think climate change will have more benefits than harm: I will be very, very surprised—shocked, floored even—if that turns out to be the case. I have not read the full IPCC report (it’s still not released), but I’ve read a draft of the “Summary for Policymakers” and did not see any mention of this (to be fair, I might have missed it, but the SfP goes over specific topics like temperatures, history, and so on). But I have to wonder what “experts” would say such a thing. Most of the climate and environmental scientists I have read say that global warming on the scale and rate we’re seeing is catastrophic; only full-blown climate change deniers have made any claims that the benefits outweigh the harm.

So there you have it: A duly-elected Representative from West Virginia sits on the House Subcommittee for Energy and Power, and can make easily-disproven and frankly ridiculous statements like that, empowered by the kind of error-riddled articles published by the likes of The Mail, just as I warned.

I was glad to see Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) call McKinley out on his statements at the end of that video excerpt, and make a clear call for more science and scientists at hearings like this. But as long as Republicans hold a majority in the House I despair of that happening; they tend to call well-known deniers to testify at these panels, and the sitting Congresspeople on those committees are overwhelmingly anti-science.

This matters, folks. This is our future we’re talking about, and from top to bottom, people who flatly deny reality have infiltrated the system, with just enough influence to obstruct any real progress. This must change if we’re ever to fix this looming and globally critical problem.
3582  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / metal storm on: September 21, 2013, 08:37:16 PM
http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AuWr_xZpRnBMpMO1KKgGkUObvZx4?p=artillery+weapons&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-900
3583  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Diners: gals; swanky restaurants; guys on: September 20, 2013, 07:28:52 AM
What is timely about this if anyone noticed my mentioning on another thread the recent lunch I had with four female relatives who opined (and whined) about it being a man's world used as their central example the allegation that women cannot get jobs being waitresses in high end fancy restaurants.  The restaurant we were in was higher end and yes the servers were all waiters.  A few days later I went with family to another high end restaurant (the second times in months) and true to their allegation all the servers were men.  (though not mentioned many were possibly gay which is politically correct?).  I am not sure why this is.   I once thought that it was because traditionally men were the "bread" winners and it was felt like they had families to support.  Certainly that may have been the excuse in ages past but today many women are the breadwinners.  And why should that be the arbiter of who gets a serving job?   shocked

*****Women Waiting Tables Provide Most of Female Gains in U.S.

By Ian Katz & Alex Tanzi - Sep 19, 2013 12:01 AM ET .

It’s almost 6 p.m. on a Friday and the tables near the bar at The Hamilton in downtown Washington are getting crowded. That means waitress Victoria Honard is busy.

Honard, 22, who graduated from Syracuse University in May, works about 25 hours a week at the restaurant while looking for a job related to public policy. She moved to Washington four days after graduation with the hope of finding a position at a think tank or policy-related organization, she said, and has applied to about 20 prospective employers.

Women Waiting Tables Provide Most of Female Gains in U.S.

A waitress serves customers at the Bouchon Bakery at The Shops at Columbus Circle mall in New York. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Income Inequality Is Worldwide Issue, Swonk Says


Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial Inc., and Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, talk about the U.S. labor market, wage growth and income inequality. They speak with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)

“The response has been minimal,” said Honard, whose degree focused on education, health and human services. “There are two ways of looking at it. I could be extremely frustrated and be bitter, or I can make the most of it, and I’m trying to take the latter approach.”

Unemployment data appear to reflect big advances for women. The jobless rate in August for females 20 years and older was 6.3 percent, the lowest since December 2008, compared with 7.1 percent for men. As recently as January, the rate was 7.3 percent for both genders, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The downside is that the gains have been largely in lower-paying industries such as waitresses, in-home health care, food preparation and housekeeping. About 60 percent of the increase in employment for women from 2009 to 2012 was in jobs that pay less than $10.10 an hour, compared with 20 percent for men, according to a study by the National Women’s Law Center using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Soft Spot

The numbers expose a soft spot in an economic recovery that has reduced the overall unemployment rate to 7.3 percent from 10 percent in October 2009. Quality of jobs is an increasing concern for U.S. policy makers and economists since it affects the level of incomes and wage disparities.

Of the 125,000 jobs women gained last month, 54,000 were in retail, leisure and hospitality, and just 24,000 in professional and business services. Many of those are part-time, 34 hours or less a week.

Food services and drinking places have added 354,000 jobs this year alone. “The place jobs have grown the most has been in these parts of the economy that women have traditionally filled more easily,” said Diane Swonk, who studies labor trends as chief economist for Mesirow Financial Inc. in Chicago.

Women have taken restaurant and retail jobs instead of teaching and other public-sector career positions that have disappeared, said Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security at the Washington-based law center. Females lost 444,000 public-sector jobs in the four years starting in June 2009, when the recession ended, compared with 290,000 for men.

Without Degrees

“They are taking jobs as baristas in Starbucks and other jobs that used to go to people without college degrees,” Entmacher said. “It’s an anecdote but it’s also a fact.”

Women who worked full-time in 2012 received $37,791 in median income, 77 percent of what men earned, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report Sept. 17. That percentage has changed little since 2007. The number of men working full-time rose by 1 million from 2011 to 2012, while the change for women wasn’t statistically significant, according to the bureau’s data.

“The very definition of what it means to be middle class is being undercut by trends in our economy that must be addressed,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in a Sept. 17 speech in Washington. “These trends -- like the increase in income inequality and the decline in upward mobility -- did not happen overnight.”

Dropping Out

While students and recent graduates are taking low-wage jobs to get started, other women are turning them down. About 2 million married women have dropped out of the work force since 2008.

“If they’re in a two-income house they’re more willing to drop out and take care of the children because it costs too much for day care,” Swonk said.

Quality of jobs is tied directly to economic growth, she said.

“Growth is a magician when it comes to employment because it pulls people out of the woodwork that might not have worked otherwise and gives them an opportunity,” Swonk said. “We’re not going to have robust growth for a while.”

Education may eventually shift the trend in favor of women, who accounted for a record 52 percent of college graduates in 2012. They passed men in 2005 and have gradually increased the lead every year since.

Part-time Dentist

After finishing a one-year residency in New York, Monica Delwadia, a 29-year-old dentist, started working three days a week at a clinic in Leesburg, Virginia. She was married in July and moved in with her husband in Germantown, Maryland. Since Delwadia is licensed to work as dentist in Virginia and not in Maryland, she commutes 50 minutes to make the 33-mile drive each way to Leesburg.

“It seems to me there might be a little bit of an economy effect,” said Delwadia, who attended Emory University in Atlanta and went to the University of Tennessee’s College of Dentistry in Memphis. In better times, patients are more willing to pay for preventive and cosmetic work, she said.

“Now it’s more like, ‘This one tooth is bothering me. Let’s just take care of this, and I’ll call you if I want to do the rest of the work,’” she said.

Delwadia likes the clinic and said she hopes to pick up more hours. She said she also may eventually look for a second job at another dental office.

Bracing Themselves

Some students not yet in the workforce are bracing themselves for settling for jobs outside their area of study.

Alexandra Allmand, 22, said it might be difficult to find a position in human resources or recruiting when she graduates from George Washington University in December.

Allmand, who studies psychology, is a hostess at District Commons, a restaurant near the university’s campus in Washington. She said she will look for internships in addition to jobs “because I can’t be picky.”

For many workers in their 20s, “it’s catch-as-catch-can,” said Stephen Bronars, senior economist at Welch Consulting in Washington, who specializes in employment and labor issues. “The economy hasn’t really picked up enough to get all of them into full-time work.”

At the Hamilton, two blocks from the White House, Honard often waits on lawmakers and government officials, giving her a glimpse of people she would like to work with someday. This summer she served a member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, to whom she recommended a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

Waiting Tables

Though she doesn’t want to stick with it long-term, waiting tables comes easily to Honard. As soon as she turned 18, the minimum age for working where alcohol is served, she started as a waitress at Calamari’s Squid Row, the restaurant her parents own in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she grew up.

She decided to move to Washington because it’s an obvious destination for those working in public policy and she enjoyed the city during an internship with a charter school organization two summers ago.

Honard said she frequently searches Syracuse’s alumni program to scout for job openings and uses a network the university has on LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD)’s website.

“It’s a gradual process, and I try to be systematic about it,” she said. “I’m just lucky I have something to support myself in the meantime.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Ian Katz in Washington at ikatz2@bloomberg.net; Alexandre Tanzi in Washington at atanzi@bloomberg.net*****
3584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Carbon capture and CO@2 for gas recovery on: September 20, 2013, 07:17:26 AM
There was a piece on 60 minutes or a comparable program a few years ago that explored pumping carbon emissions into the ground.  It is feasible but at that time would cost a trillion dollars to convert to this.

With regards to pumping carbon into frack wells I just posted that using nat gas itself would reduce costs of fracking by 70%.  So that said I still don't know what will happen to coal of which I own some stock in.

Good summary from Forbes on this stuff:
 
*****Ken Silverstein
Ken Silverstein, Contributor

I write about the global energy business.

 9/20/2013 @ 8:00AM
 
Coal Could Be Resurrected If Carbon Could Be Buried
 

It’s a big day for coal-fired power plants, which will formally learn the Obama administration’s plans on how they are to be regulated. The proposal, which if enacted, would set strict limits on carbon dioxide releases that would essentially nullify the future construction of coal facilities.

That’s at least until carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) would become commercial. That’s not possible now. But what is possible is to capture the carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants and to it use for enhanced oil recovery. That tool, however, is not without controversy: Critics say that pumping such heat-trapping emissions into the ground only so that they could be used to extract a product that releases even more such global warming pollution is a bit silly.

“Leaving the CO2 underground is of no ultimate benefit for climate stabilization when additional hydrocarbons have been extracted in exchange,” says Jeffrey Michel, an MIT scholar and environmental professional living in Germany. Michel, who is a contributor to EnergyBiz Insider, goes on to say that injecting 1 ton of carbon dioxide will yield 3.6 barrels of crude oil. That, in turn, creates 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide when refined and burned.

That said, the thinking among some climate scholars is that taking the CO2 and using it to retrieve oil deposits is a better solution than letting it into the atmosphere. And, it is the best answer until the releases can be captured and permanently buried, which the U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told a congressional panel this week that this happen before 2020.

U.S. lawmakers from coal-producing states are expressing reservations about the Obama administration’s proposals, which would require all future coal plants to be as clean as combined cycle natural gas facilities. Or, technically speaking, today’s coal units spew out about 1,850 pounds of carbon per megawatt hour while the proposal is expected to cap that at 1,000 pounds. To do so, they would need to have the ability to employ CCS.

Moreover, coal producers in the United States, such as Alpha Natural Resources ANR -0.3%, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy BTU -0.74%, will find that oversea’s markets won’t provide long-term refuge.  China and India, for example, are also developing much stronger coal regs. China’s coal-burning is to peak at 4 billions tons by 2015, say news reports. After that, it will begin a gradual descent, relying instead on hydro, nuclear and renewables.

Here in the United States, 112 coal plants have been retired since 2010, or soon will be, says Beyond Coal, totaling more than 48,000 megawatts. Doyle Trading Consultants generally agrees, saying 42,000 megawatts are vulnerable to retirement by 2020, 90 percent of which will fade away by 2015. That’s 18 percent of the existing coal-fired fleet.

Domestically, coal’s share of the electric generation market has fallen from 50 percent in 2007 to 40 percent now. But, globally, it is still expected to fuel the developing economies, supplying 60 percent of the power markets through 2035. If the coal sector, however, wants to prevent a precipitous decline in its overall status, it must embrace CCS, and Secretary Moniz says that this country will partner with U.S. utilities and their coal providers.

To that end, CCS for applications related to coal and gas-powered electricity remain hugely expensive, necessitating further research development. So, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is pushing carbon capture and utilization — to increase oil finds.

“CCS is a critical technology for reconciling our continued dependence on fossil fuels with the imperative to protect the global environment,” says Judi Greenwald, vice president for technology at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “Our best hope at the moment for CCS advancement is carbon capture, utilization and storage,” which takes the captured carbon and uses it for enhanced oil recovery.

She points to two projects: Air Products’ Port Author and Southern Company’s Mississippi venture. The U.S. Department of Energy helped support the Air Products project, where carbon dioxide is captured from a refinery and then used to enhance oil recovery. In late 2012, it began operations. The Energy Department pumped in $284 million of the total $430 million cost. Similarly, the agency is working with Southern Co SO -0.77%. at its facility in Mississippi. Here, the public’s contribution is $290 million. The project is more than 80 percent complete.

The ultimate goal is to permanently bury the carbon. The Energy Department is putting up $1.1 billion or 80 percent of the money to build “FutureGen.” The facility is expected to be 200 megawatts that will retrofit an oil-fueled unit in Meredosia, Illinois. The project is now focused on its preliminary design and engineering. It will capture at least 90 percent of the CO2 emitted, and it will inject all of that underground, the organization explained.

For their part, utilities say that they would eagerly participate with the federal government while it is investing $8 billion in CCS. But they also note that over the last 40 years that they have collectively spent $100 billion on such things as scrubbers and coal gasification. To that end, the industry says that the attention should be on advancing those technologies that are currently commercial — not in forsaking the progress that has been made.

“Perhaps the federal government should first focus on ensuring the coal industry can economically build second generation plants rather than put a halt to the innovative progress made to date,” says Laura Sheehan, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. “If the EPA acts as expected, the United States, which is the current global leader of CCS technology, will fall to the back of the innovation race.”

Obama’s immediate plan is to apply the CO2 limits to all prospective coal plants. His eventual aim is to impose similar caps on the existing coal-fired fleet. And all this is taking place in an electric generation market where natural gas is quickly gaining market share because of its abundance and cost.

In other words, both the regulatory and economic climate are evolving. That is why the coal industry and its utility partners have to stop stalling and start allocating the necessary resources to allow their offerings to remain relevant. Gasifying coal is a potential answer. Carbon capture is another.

While using CO2 to enhance oil recovery is within reach, it remains controversial. Nevertheless, it is an essential first step to permanent sequestration*****
3585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I am pleased the L word is becoming more common on: September 19, 2013, 09:12:55 PM
Not too long ago I posted how I cannot understand the reluctance of anyone in public life to call a liar a liar.  I guess it is the fear of a slander law suit.  That said it is about time liars are being called out for what they are.  The next hope is there actually will be political consequences for public servants who lie.  So far not much in that department:

*****Republican accuses fellow lawmakers of ‘lying’ about Obamacare exemption

1:15 PM 09/19/2013
Alex Pappas
Political ReporterSee All Articles
   
Republican Sen. David Vitter is slamming his fellow lawmakers for “lying” and telling their constituents that there is no such thing as an Obamacare exemption for members of Congress and their staff members.

“Some are lying, trying to mislead the public about the Obamacare exemption for Congress,” Republican Sen. David Vitter said in a statement Thursday. “President Obama recently issued a special rule for Congress and congressional staff to get a special subsidy to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange unavailable to every other American at similar income levels. That’s an exemption, plain and simple.”

Vitter has been leading the Republican fight in the Senate with an amendment that kills federal Obamacare subsidies for lawmakers and their staff. It would require that all members of Congress, the president, vice president, and Obama administration appointees to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange without taxpayer-funded subsidies.

To show that lawmakers are “denying” the existence of the exemption, Vitter’s office on Thursday released to the media a letter that fellow Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, sent to a constituent. She said the notion they are getting special treatment “could not be further from the truth.”

“Once again, let me assure you that there is no exemption for Members of Congress and their staff in the [Affordable Care Act], nor will I ever support an ‘exemption’ for myself of my staff,” Landrieu wrote.

Vitter’s office provided a copy of the letter he sent to the same constituent: “Senator Landrieu is trying to mislead you, to put it kindly. Others might say she is lying.”

“As you have no doubt read, President Obama recently issued a special rule for Congress only. Under it, Congress and congressional staff get a special subsidy to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange unavailable to every other American at similar income levels,” he said. “That special subsidy is worth approximately $11,000 per family.”

Vitter’s office also released a graphic that he says proves his point:

The Obamacare fix for lawmakers and staff was made because the Affordable Care Act includes an amendment from a Republican senator that changes how the government currently covers most of the cost of health-care premiums for members and their staffers. The new law mandates that members and staff must enter into exchanges or be covered by insurance “created” by law.

The Office of Personnel Management announced in August that it plans to provide a subsidy of about 75 percent of the cost for the healthcare of members and staff.****
3586  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: September 19, 2013, 10:29:46 AM
Fantastic food for thought.  But like his Gilder tech report is so full of concepts I need more time to digest.  I have had some initial thoughts.   One big concern I have is just letting human entropy take its course.  It is totally random and only God knows where this will take us.  We need something to balance this.  Gilder only trivially speaks of some controls - his piece is long.  But he only gives very short drift to this:

"Predictability and order are not spontaneous and cannot be left to an invisible hand. It takes a low-entropy carrier (no surprises) to bear high-entropy information (full of surprises). In capitalism, the predictable carriers are the rule of law, the maintenance of order, the defense of property rights, the reliability and restraint of regulation, the transparency of accounts, the stability of money, the discipline and futurity of family life, and a level of taxation commensurate with a modest and predictable role of government. These low entropy carriers bear all our bounties of surprising wealth and progress."

I also suggest religion in some way also counterbalances the dangers of just letting loose the entropy of capitalism.   We need great religious leaders who can update Judeo Christian tenets to apply to the new world.

I would like to take more time to study the post from Gilder.   He blends chemistry, math, and information into an applicable theory of capitalism and suggests it is the continuation of human evolution of a species of creationism. 

But the crucial question to me is,

what about us as human beings?   As socieities?  As a civilization?   As a species?
3587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 19, 2013, 10:19:06 AM
"The man who connected so electrically and facilely in 2008, causing Americans to overlook his thin résumé, cannot seem to connect anymore."

Yet his approval ratings if one believes the polls are forever 50% or close to it.

Why the Republicans cannot close in is because they still don't get it.

How do we deal with the "entitlement" crowd?  How do we win at least some no whites?  How do we stop Hillary from winning 50% of the electorate for no reason other than her sex? (I guess being bisexual gives her a double advantage - not that we didn't already know.   wink).   I would be very curious to know if other(s) on this board including Rachel would give me insight to the power of the "women's vote".

We should not underestimate this!   From talking with women in my family to those I work with I can tell you there is no question there is an unlocked political tsunami in addressing women's imaginations.   If Repubs don't fully grasp this then Hillary sure will.  I sat with four female relatives from two generations three who are left and one who is right on the political spectrum.   They will all tell me women are not treated the same, do not have the same opportunity make less money and all the rest. 

My response is I don't get it.   Women now can choose (if economically feasible) to stay home, to work, get time off for pregnancy, for family care, get benefits for their kids,  more lawyers now are female, more are doctors, they run for high office.   And yet they still bitch?   Their response - I just don't see it.  Like the men in their lives. 

So do not underestimate the Hillary - women's thing.  It will be big.  Big enough - only time will tell.  Dredging up all the stuff we know about Bill and Hill - like today's Gennifer Flowers thing will not persuade anyone that is already not persuaded.  It will take more.  Rove doesn't get it.   Bushes don't get it.   Cruz is closest for me.
3588  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Further thought exploring the core problem for Republicans on: September 18, 2013, 09:37:21 AM
Doug,
Thanks for taking on my question.

Doug responds,

"You have identified the two playing fields that the right will never win on.  If the race is to see who will pay people the most to not work, or be accused of starving children and taking meds from Grannie, Republicans and free marketers won't win.  If it is a contest to see who is perceived as best at tying the hands of new wealth with new laws, taxes and redistribution methods, Republicans have no chance in that contest either, except for a few R-in-name-only Senators.

To win with prosperity and economic freedom, you have to change the framing of the questions.  For starters, trickle down is only a misnomer/caricature/pejorative of opponents' beliefs that the left puts on what they see as unrestrained freedom, not something that came out of the principles of economic freedom or supply side economics.

There is no answer to stopping income disparity while improving everyone else's outcome, and there is no valid reason to stop income disparity.  If there was no disparity in what you see in other people's income, then there would be no hope in improving your own future."

I have come up with some sort of overall thesis that might work for the right though I have not thought through (I don't know if frankly I am smart enough to quite figure it out) the details.
I do believe the concept of freedom, hard work, and equal opportunity for all with *more* reasonable fairness for all can be the answer and acceptable to most Americans bar those who will always look for handouts or refuse to get over the entitlement philosophy.

I do not disparage those 1% who work hard are geniuses, lucky or have come up with honest formulas to be extraordinarily successful.  Indeed I am jealous but also admiring of them.  The problem as I see it as do so many other is the game is not fair.  There is incredible dishonesty, cheating, lying, stealing, bribery and misuse of mail, eavesdropping and rigging the game.  We can never stop all of it.  My problem is as you have stated, the right *doesn't even acknowledge this* let alone speak of even and semblance of righting or leveling the playing field.  That is the biggest mistake on the right and why they will always have to battle the left.  The middle class, if you will, is struggling more then ever.  To them the American Dream certainly has slipped away.  When you have 75 % of the population living from paycheck to paycheck and the right only addresses this with abstract ideology about freedom opportunity and hard work they have far less chance of winning against a party that has sold its soul with buying votes.  Just simply disparaging bigger and bigger government (I agree with this) without taking on private crooks and scoundrels is, I believe, a  persistent and crucial mistake.

I don't know we need more regulation to level the playing field.  Perhaps we simply need to enforce what we have.  Not a single wall streeter went to jail.  Corzine gets off without any criminal liability.  Yet the average joe doesn't pay a small tax bill and he can be in jail.

We cannot keep ignoring this.   

As for Chinese, Indians, and Blacks, and Latins who are overwhelmingly Democrat party types I don't know how much is racial (you get the white guy thing) but I think most is the benefits. 

I guess we also have to lay the choice on the line.  Do we want a country where everyone sits around feeling entitled or one we used to have where hard work and responsibility, without any guarantees, is the best way to go.
I fear the former will win out.  Especially if more and more of the population dwindles and struggles.  And no, the answer is not simply "education" which is all we hear from the elites.


3589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Bull looks pissed on: September 18, 2013, 09:16:16 AM
And I thought UFC or DB stick fighting was rough and tough.....

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/photographer-gored-during-toro-de-la-vega-in-spain-1379507498-slideshow/
3590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / media and prozac? on: September 18, 2013, 08:52:24 AM
I really don't know if SSRI drugs can be blamed for the shooting as implied.  There is no question these drugs help a lot of people au contraire to Michael Savage's rants.  Also people who take them are often at risk of mood disorders and that is why they take them.  It is always easy for those with financial/political interests to simply blame the drug.   (Pat Kennedy drove into the side of the capital building because of ambien and not that he was drunk.)  In this case the Navy yard shooter was delusional and indeed SSRIs do not treat delusional or hallucinatory disorders.   They are not antipsychotics.   If he did in fact have bipolar disorder than treating the depressive component with an SSRI while not treating the manic side could very well have led to even worse mania outbreaks.  This is well know to anyone who goes to medical school.  There is always some risk that a person seeks medical help during the depressive state and the doctor treats that only and then the patient actually has undiagnosed bipolar.  If people are manic they feel great and don't go to the doctor unless someone else brings them in.

What I absolutely like about this article is it highlights the corruption of our big media complex.   It is extraordinarily corrupt and while it is just conjecture that the media buries this because of money from big pharmaceutical companies with ad campaigns it is certainly food for thought.

*****Media Buries Psychiatric Drug Connection to Navy Shooter

The Alex Jones Channel Alex Jones Show podcast Prison Planet TV Infowars.com Twitter Alex Jones' Facebook Infowars store

Networks don’t want to risk losing $2.4 billion in ad revenue from pharmaceutical giants

Paul Joseph Watson
 Infowars.com
 September 18, 2013

Despite every indication that Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis was on SSRI drugs that have been linked to dozens of previous mass shootings, the mainstream media has once again avoided all discussion of the issue, preferring instead to blame the tragedy on a non-existent AR-15 that the gunman didn’t even use.

We now know that Alexis “had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems.”

As Mike Adams points out, “This is proof that Aaron Alexis was on psychiatric drugs, because that’s the only treatment currently being offered by the Veterans Administration for mental problems. Alexis’ family members also confirmed to the press that he was being “treated” for his mental health problems. Across the medical industry, “treatment” is the code word for psychiatric drugging.”

Alexis also suffered from PTSD, blackouts and anger issues – all of which are treated with SSRI drugs. The most common form of treatment for PTSD is Paroxetine, which is listed as the number 3 top violence-causing drug by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).

The Navy Yard shooter was clearly on some form of psychiatric drug, but the media has shown no interest in discovering its identity.

Despite it being reported that prescription drugs were found in the apartment of ‘Batman’ shooter James Holmes days after the Aurora massacre, it took nine months to find out exactly what those drugs were. Like Columbine killer Eric Harris, Holmes had been taking Zoloft, another SSRI drug linked with violent outbursts.

The length of time it took to find out that Holmes was on Zoloft was partly because the media habitually shows zero interest in pursuing the link between anti-depressants and violence.

As the website SSRI Stories profusely documents, there are literally hundreds of examples of mass shootings, murders and other violent episodes that have been committed by individuals on psychiatric drugs over the past three decades. The number of cases is staggering.

Why is the corporate media so disinterested in pursuing this clear connection?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the pharmaceutical giants who produce drugs like Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil spend around $2.4 billion dollars a year on direct-to-consumer television advertising every year. By running negative stories about prescription drugs, networks risk losing tens of millions of dollars in ad revenue.

While failing to ask questions about what SSRI drugs Aaron Alexis was taking prior to his rampage, the media instead blamed the shooting on assault rifles, even after it had been confirmed that no AR-15 was used by Alexis during the massacre.

FBI assistant director Victoria Parlave stated at a press conference on Tuesday that authorities, “do not have any information at this time that [Alexis] had an AR-15 in his possession.”

Despite there being no evidence that an AR-15 was used, the New York Daily News ran a front page headline yesterday morning entitled, “Same Gun Different Slay,” next to a picture of an assault rifle.

Hours after the FBI stated that no AR-15 had been used, MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, who previously blamed the Boston bombings on Alex Jones,continued to use an animated graphic depicting Alexis carrying an assault rifle during the massacre.

Anti-second amendment crusader Piers Morgan also erroneously blamed the shooting on “a man with a legally purchased AR-15, who just committed the same kind of atrocity as we saw at Sandy Hook, and Aurora,” during his CNN show on Monday.

CNN’s live news coverage also reported that Alexis had “recently purchased (an) AR-15 shotgun,” when in fact that purchase had been denied.

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post also falsely reported that an AR-15 had been found on Alexis after the massacre.

DC gun grabbers Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin also regurgitated the false claim that Alexis used an AR-15 during the rampage.

The US press has once again behaved like state media in the aftermath of the Navy Yard shooting by pursuing the assault rifle angle – despite the fact that it was patently false – in order to bolster the White House’s gun control agenda.

In doing so, they have concurrently buried an integral aspect of mass shootings that needs to highlighted as part of a national conversation – the clear connection between violent outbursts and SSRI drugs.*****
3591  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / use gas to frack for gas? and I guess oil. on: September 17, 2013, 07:29:02 PM
In energy milestone, EQT in first-ever fracking job powered only by well gas • 2:11 PM
•EQT Corp. (EQT +1.5%) and Green Field Energy say they completed the first fracking job powered solely by natural gas tapped from a nearby well, using well gas to complete jobs on a Marcellus shale well in Pennsylvania.
•Some operators, including Apache (APA), have estimated that using well gas could cut fuel costs by 70%; APA has said that if all fracking jobs switched to well gas, energy companies could cut their industry-wide fuel costs by $1.67B.
3592  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: September 17, 2013, 06:41:59 PM
GM when I first pulled up your post and saw the picture of the person with the rifle watching over other people first looked like a prison with a guard then you see "lean forward" in the corner and I think liberal control freaks who want to monitor everything we do and control us and force us to their will.  Because that is what their agenda is.
3593  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Syria on: September 15, 2013, 08:51:33 PM
What did Murdock call Amanpour - the "war whore"?
3594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Senate approves bill to protect Wash insider journalists on: September 15, 2013, 09:01:26 AM
With of course their preferred political ideology.  Naturally that is not exactly how this is worded but isn't it plainly obvious this is how one can read through this.  Another example of 1% privilege for those who are connected that is exactly what I am talking about.   Those 1% get many benefits the rest of us don't get.  Sure if they get it fairly and squarely no problem.  But if they get it through advantages only they have then of course 99% are going to be resentful.   Like why is Romney paying 17% tax and I am paying well over 30%?  Yes I am angry.  And why is nearly half the country not paying any?  OTOH hand I don't think people paying millions should pay a higher percentage either.  Flat tax.

*****Drudge hates new shield bill, but is defining 'journalist' really 'fascist'?

A media shield law approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee defines a “real reporter” deserving of extra protection. Bloggers, "citizen journalists," and others cry "foul!"


Christian Science Monitor
Patrik Jonsson 17 hours ago 
 
In its attempt to define who’s a journalist and who’s not, is the US Senate trying to say that Thomas Paine, a corset-maker, wouldn’t have deserved the same protections from government heavy-handedness as a newspaper publisher like Ben Franklin?

The first version of a media shield law that handily made it through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday defined for the first time what constitutes a “real reporter” deserving of extra protection versus what Sen. Dianne Feinstein called a “17-year-old blogger” who doesn’t deserve a legal shield.

While Mr. Paine eventually edited magazines in the United States, he’s best known for his pamphleteering days, when he self-published “Common Sense,” one of the American Revolution’s most poignant calls to arms. Modern bloggers often see themselves as the inheritors of the pamphleteering tradition, and many wondered on Friday whether Paine would be covered under the proposed law.

That Congress is attempting to define “journalist” at all in order to expand protections after a number of high-profile leak cases and ensuing Justice Department prosecutions caused blog impresario Matt Drudge to call Ms. Feinstein a “fascist” on Twitter, suggesting that the law would subvert a free press by giving institutional advantage to government-approved media outlets.

“Federal judge once ruled Drudge 'is not a reporter, a journalist, or a newsgatherer,'” Mr. Drudge, proprietor of the massive news aggregator site Drudge Report, Tweeted Friday. “Millions of readers a day come for cooking recipes??!”

On its face, the proposed shield law doesn’t affect the First Amendment, which at any rate doesn’t guarantee anybody’s right to publish whatever they want. The bill simply adds extra protections against being forced to testify about sources for established reporters and freelancers with a “considerable” amount of publishing experience. It also allows a judge to make a declaration as to who’s a journalist and who’s not in an attempt to build the shield as wide as possible.

“All we’re doing is adding privilege to existing First Amendment rights, so there is, logically, zero First Amendment threat out of this,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, (D) of Rhode Island.

But conservative bloggers, including some law professors, had a different reaction, suggesting that such a law would give the Department of Justice powerful discretion that could potentially be used to intimidate amateur reporters who are also working in the public interest.

The boom in online news arguably has helped polarize the American political scene, but it has also given readers access to far more data and viewpoints than they had under the system of editors and reporters that make up the traditional American newsroom.

Moreover, largely because the First Amendment extends press freedoms to all Americans, the US has no special licensing requirements for journalists, as many other Western countries do, meaning that the shield law would be the country’s first attempt to create what critics call an “elite” tier for the institutional press.

“Journalism is an activity, not a profession,” wrote University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, who mans the popular InstaPundit blog.

Some senators agreed. “It strikes me that we are on dangerous territory if we are drawing distinctions that are treating some engaged in the process of reporting and journalism better than others,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, (R) of Texas. “Essentially as I understand this amendment, it protects what I would characterize as the ‘corporate media’…. But it leaves out citizen bloggers.”

The intent of the federal shield is to enshrine in law what, until the Obama administration, had been maintained mostly as a tradition – that reporters shouldn’t have to testify about how or through whom they received sensitive information with a demonstrable public interest.

Fighting back against leakers like Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange, who have used the Internet to instantly disseminate vast troves of classified data and documents to the global masses, the Obama administration has prosecuted both whistleblowers and reporters who have gained access to that kind of data with an unprecedented vigilance. The administration has also been caught tapping dozens of phone lines at the Associated Press, the nation’s preeminent wire service.

(Ironically, President Obama has said he supports a shield law that critics point out has been made more necessary by the actions of his administration.)

The bill says that a "covered journalist" is a person who gathers or writes news for "an entity or service that disseminates news and information."

The bill, however, does not offer an impenetrable shield.

Federal officials can still “compel disclosure” from a reporter who has information that could prevent a murder or child kidnapping, help stop acts of terrorism, or information that could cause severe harm to national security.****
3595  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: September 15, 2013, 08:39:27 AM
Good ideas.

But they don't address the central point of one of the central differences between liberal/socialist and republican/conservative policy.

At least not directly.

One of my patient recently returned from a trip to "sin city".   I thought he meant Washington DC.   He meant Vegas.

3596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I guess it will be a cold day in hell.... on: September 14, 2013, 07:43:07 AM
before those in the 75% of the country who reportedly live from pay check to pay check hear a concise coherent response from Republicans that addresses how they languish while 1% keep getting wealthier.  And no it is not just the rich are stealing, though many do, but the economy, the "system" is not working for the bulk of America.   It is not simply a lack of good education in my view which is the standard come back.   

If Republicans want to gain any real share of minorities, Asians, Latinos who are on the low rung of the economic ladder or who come from counties with more socialistic government, or who are for whatever reason obsessed with race, or who keep having babies they cannot afford, they better do a Freaking better job at addressing this.  No one has yet.  Including the talking bean bags on talk radio.

I will keep hammering this point the only way I know how.  On this board.  What is the best thing to tell children to do today.  The best job is lobbyist or run for political office.  You want to get rich go to DC!   The revolving door between Wall Street the media and what used to be public service....  Only a part of the problem though.  But  a good display at the advantages those with influence, money have that the majority don't.   I grew up in a house hold that was not really one party or the other but where my parents voted for who they thought was the best candidate for America and probably for them.  I have always trended to the Republican party and still do.  I am even further to the right.  Yet I am baffled and annoyed how Republicans cannot or will not address the underlying challenge before them.  Perhaps they can't.

*****Poll: Obama holds lead in fight for middle class vote

By Rose Gordon Sala via Lean Forward

Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:13 AM EDT.

A little more than half of the middle class believe President Obama's policies will improve their situation, according to a new Pew Research Center report. Fifty-two percent prefer Obama's policies to the 42% who said Republican candidate Mitt Romney would aid the middle class.

Figures from an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll last month showed a similar lead by the president in winning the middle class. It found that 49% of voters believe Obama's policies look out for the middle class, compared to 33% that believe Romney does—a 16-point advantage. A whopping 80% of those respondents said they would vote for the candidate they believe will strength the middle class. Interesting, because a new Obama campaign ad released Thursday has the popular former President Clinton promising that Obama's economic plan will do just that.

This doesn't mean the president's path to re-election is a simple skip down the yellow-brick road. Indeed, only 44% of voters in the NBC/WSJ poll approve of his handling of the economy (though up 2% from the prior month).

While both campaigns profess their dedication to strengthening and improving the middle class, the number of those who possess a middle class income are dwindling as more people join the ranks of the poor and the wealthy, increasing America's income disparity, Pew found. In 2011, 51% of adults were considered middle class, a 10-percentage point drop from 1971 when 61% were middle class.

While upper-incomers wealth held steady over the last decade, the middle class' median net worth fell by $36,432 (see chart).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And they aren't happy. Eighty-five percent of those who identify as middle class say it is more difficult for them to maintain their standard of living today than it was a decade ago. Who do they blame for this? Politicians and a few other culprits.
•62% blame Congress
•54% blame banks and financial institutions
•47% blame corporations
•44% blame the Bush administration
•39% foreign competition
•34% blame the Obama administration

In discussing the Pew report this morning, conservative Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough blamed both parties for the "depressing" news. "It's all B.S.," he said. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer because for 40 years our economy has been changing...We had an IT revolution that displaced a lot of people."

"The political parties are just stupid in their simple-minded solutions," Scarborough continued while pointing to tax reform suggested by each candidate for president.*****
3597  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Syria on: September 12, 2013, 10:44:32 AM
"This is not about the use of Chemical Weapons at all. If it had been, action would have been taken over a year ago. Instead, they wait until now, even though there is no actual evidence to link Assad to the use of the weapons."

No one really knows what goes on "behind the scenes".  True.  But it does appear the administration doesn't really know what to do.   Stay out of it.  Inject ourselves into it?

There is political pressure on both sides.   Doesn't it seem that Obama's history suggests he would rather stay out?

Several concepts need to be re - evaluated such as:

1)  "managing" events in foreign countries.

2)  supporting "democracy" in regions where there has never really been any such thing.

3)  promoting *our* interests and re-evaluating what those are exactly.

4)  supporting friends of the US who may not be otherwise admirable ie; Mubarak  ( was better than what we have now in Egypt )

5)  expecting to be able to foretell the outcome of every military intervention (not possible);  (We went into Iraq in 1992 with overwhelming force and achieved a better than expected outcome - but who knew in advance.)
     (We can thank Powell for backing us into this corner - prudent but not realistic)

6)  do "limited" military interventions make sense

7)  should not military interventions be with the purpose to *win*.

Cool  seeking international approval for everything we do - forget about Congressional approval.  (we can thank G H Bush for this one as predicted by some including George Will, and myself, 20 yrs ago)

9)  Why do we seek international support for everything then we are the ones thus responsible to carry it all out and do the dirty work?

Surely people can think of many more questions to which this administration has no coherent approach.

 

I don't buy a conspiracy theory per se other than it is all about politics for the One and his liberal agenda.  I do buy the administration is confused as to how to approach this.  In the context of "transforming" America.  In the context that American/European capitalism/colonialism viewed as "white" policies of the past were bad for the world.   
3598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Robert Reich responds to Forbes article on: September 12, 2013, 09:21:33 AM
Robert Reich.

Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley; Author, 'Beyond Outrage'

Forbes magazine likes to call itself a "capitalist tool," and routinely offers tool-like justifications for whatever it is that profit-seeking corporations want to do. Recently it has deployed its small army of corporate defenders and apologists in the multi-billion dollar fight to keep the effective tax rates of global corporations low.

One of its contributors, Tim Worstall, recently took me to task for suggesting that a way for citizens to gain some countervailing power over large global corporations is for governments to threaten denial of market access unless corporations act responsibly.

He argues that the benefits to consumers of global corporations are so large that denial of market access would hurt citizens more than it would help them. The "value to U.S. consumers of Apple is they can buy Apple products," Worstall writes. "Why would you want to punish U.S. consumers, by banning them from buying Apple products, just because Apple obeys the current tax laws?"

Wortstall thereby begs the central question. If global corporations obeyed all national laws -- the spirit of the laws as well as the letter of them -- and didn't use their inordinate power to dictate the laws in the first place by otherwise threatening to take their jobs and investments elsewhere, there'd be no issue.

It's the fact of their power to manipulate laws by playing nations off against one another -- determining how much they pay in taxes, as well as how much they get in corporate welfare subsidies, how much regulation they're subject to, and so on -- that raises the question of how citizens can countermand this power.

Consumer benefits may sometimes exceed such costs. But, as we've painfully learned over the years (the Wall Street meltdown, the BP oil spill in the Gulf, consumer injuries and deaths from unsafe products, worker injuries and deaths from unsafe working conditions, climate change brought on by carbon dioxide emissions, and, yes, manipulation of the tax laws -- need I go on?), the social costs may also exceed consumer benefits.

Why would an economics writer for a seemingly sophisticated national publication such as Forbes deny the existence of corporate power to circumvent or create favorable laws, or dismiss the social costs that corporations bent solely on maximizing profits routinely disregard? I'll get back to this in a moment.

Worstall then goes on to criticize me for suggesting that governments also condition market access on receiving some of the social benefits that corporations now wield to play countries off against one another, such as good jobs or investments in research and development. In his eyes, I'm committing the mortal sin of denying the economics of comparative advantage.

On what planet have Forbes' capitalist tools been living? Many of the world's most successful economies -- among them, China and Singapore -- owe their successes in part to their conditioning market access on certain kinds of jobs and investments, including research and development. That's the way they have come to use global corporations, rather than be used by them. It's the same approach Alexander Hamilton advocated more than two centuries ago in proposing how the United States develop its manufacturing industries.

Comparative advantage is nice in theory, but in a world where powerful global corporations are using every strategy imaginable to maximize their profits and powerful governments are strategically employing market access to develop their economies, it's just theory.

Economics writers like those affiliated with Forbes magazine surely are sophisticated enough to know this as well. So why are they so eager to trot out such economic nonsense?

Perhaps because so much profit is at stake that those who pay their salaries -- and who have also put many academic economists on retainers -- prefer that they mislead the public with simplistic economic theory that appears to justify these profits rather than to tell the truth.

My modest suggestion that governments become the agents of their citizens in bargaining with global capital should hardly raise an eyebrow. But the capitalist tools at Forbes, and elsewhere, must be worried that average citizens may be starting to see what's really going on, and might therefore take such a suggestion seriously.

ROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage," now available in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. |
 "The Huffington Post" is a registered trademark of TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. All rights reserved.
  Part of  HuffPost Business - AOL Money & Finance
 
 






    .                 







 

   
         










3599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 12, 2013, 09:14:29 AM
Thanks Doug.  I'll pay more attention to Pence.

Rep King was on Hannity yesterday and they had a knock down ground pummel fight over the strategy of a military response to Assad's use of chemical weapons.  I don't necessarily agree with King's conclusion that in the long run we should act militarily but I love his speaking style.  He is a gentleman and speaks coherently convincingly and projects commitment to the interests of Americans and not just partisan spin.

Time will tell if he has what it takes.  I am not sure about his domestic economic philosophy as much since we usually hear him speak of security issues.

I was not happy with the way he railed against the Republican house when they balked at the NJ - NY hurricane Sandy bill shoved to the Feds - similar to Christie.   OTOH one can certainly argue it is his job to fight tooth and nail for his constituency.
3600  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: September 11, 2013, 12:06:21 PM
The spelling is irelevent!   smiley
Pages: 1 ... 70 71 [72] 73 74 ... 139
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!